Monday, March 12, 2012

Review Roundup--March 11, 2012

Danielle Seller’s reviews Emma Trelles’ Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame, 2011)
This spring is a time of excitement here at Letras Latinas—not only are we anticipating William Archila’s and Ruth Irupé Sanabria’s launch of installment two of Latino/a Poetry Now at Georgetown University on March 20th  but also two readings by the winner of the 2010 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, Emma Trelles. On March 18, Emma travels to Washington D.C. to read with DC-based poet Carmen Calatayud at the "Sunday Kind of Love" reading series at Busboys and Poets. 

On April 16th, Emma will be at Notre Dame, reading with Silvia Curbelo, the judge who selected her manuscript. With this in mind I offer here a book review of Tropicalia, albeit an older review it offers us a sneak-peak at Emma Trelles’ poetry before her readings.

Here is what Danielle Seller had to say:

With the publication of Tropicalia a new voice leaps onto the scene, one rejoicing in the often unsung qualities of Florida. In her first collection, winner of the 2010 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, Emma Trelles seeks to make sense of the South Florida world she was born into, a world often gritty and hard to love, with its drugs and traffic and racism, but also one of exotic beauty. Unlike many who write about Florida, Trelles doesn’t rely on cheap exotic thrills to hook her readers. The poems in this collection are raw in their honesty and in what they are willing to divulge.

Click HERE for the full review.


Craig Santos Perez reviews Gabriel Gomez’s The Outer Bands (University of Notre Dame, 2007)

For those who may not be familiar with McKenna Hall—the building housing the Institute for Latino Studies—one of its most invaluable treasures is the Julian Samora
Library. Where many of the institute’s historical primary sources (think the Letras Latinas Oral History Project which records conversations by many of the Latino/a poets, writers and artists we have come to love) are archived. Among these treasures is Gabriel Gomez’s The Outer Bands and which I had the pleasure of reading. If in times of natural catastrophe language is reduced to its most basic function: that of simple communication then individuals and society are essentially reduced to a state of muteness: “It is indescribable,” “beyond words,” these are only some of the clichés evoked to communicate the pain of catastrophe.  How then to summon a language to transcend this kind of violence? The answer may be found in Gabriel Gomez’s The Outer Bands. In this collection Gomez makes music of what is essentially an inaudible tragedy: the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  And in keeping up with the review roundup’s tradition of giving a second-life to older reviews (and taking advantage of the up-coming Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize reading) I offer you here Craig Santos Perez’s review of The Outer Bands, winning manuscript of the 2006 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize.

Here is what Santos Perez had to say:

Gabriel Gomez's The Outer Bands, winner of the 2006 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, inventively makes audible what is ultimately "inaudible for poetry" (5), from the transformations of glaciers to the vows of retablos, from the power of song to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

Click HERE for the full review.


Nick Depascal reviews Sergio Troncoso’s From This Wicked Patch of Dust (University of Arizona Press, 2011)
A native of El Paso, Texas, Sergio Troncoso is the author of four books. His latest, the novel From This Wicked Patch of Dust was selected by Southwest Books of the Year as a “Notable Book” and by the editors of Dark Sky Magazine as one of the “Best Books of 2011.”

This is what Nick Depascal had to say:
Sergio Troncoso's new novel, From This Wicked Patch of Dust, is a tightly focused and affecting work of fiction that has much to say about family, fidelity, religion and politics without ever seeming heavy-handed and pedantic. Troncoso's prose is crisp and clear, with nary a wasted word, and he manages to deftly handle numerous storylines over a long period of time in just 240 pages. While a couple of the characters' arcs are a bit less developed and less believable than the rest, the book is a highly engaging read.

Click HERE to read the full review.

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